Montana at 7,500 Feet

We’ve just driven into Custer Gallatin National Forest, which is in the Beartooth Mountains in southwest Montana, home of the highest peak in Montana: 13,000 feet. 

We’re doing “dispersed camping” in this national forest, which means you simply pull off the side of the road into a spot in the woods and park. No amenities, no rules (except no fires right now).  

That is, if you can find a spot to fit in.  Most spots are big enough for backpackers and their tents, not long trailers like ours. 

We found ours on the edge of a cliff headed down into Rock Creek, that flows quickly and loudly, with steep mountains on each side. All we hear is creek, and all we see is mountain. But a short walk gives us views of the Beartooth Mountain range with snow on the highest peaks. 

I think we’re the largest rig down this long gravel road; we dared come back here only because Tracy did a lot of research to make sure we could, including talking with a guy who towed his Airstream down here recently. 

It was dicey getting in though, with me tracking us on a downloaded map so we’d not miss the last turn-around spot; this road is barely wide enough for one truck, and the gravel on it is like what the Flintstones had to drive over. I was afraid the least of our problems would be that newly bought groceries inside the trailer would all have come loose and broken on the floor.

We got into this steep campsite, though, without huge drama and pulled the trailer up on six-inches of blocks on one side to level her, and no bottles had broken. (The trailer door may have bounced loose from its fitting, though; we’re still testing that.) 

As soon as we unpacked, we celebrated Montana with moonshine we’d been given by our neighbor in our first campground on this adventure, 15 months ago. 

Making the Solar Efficient

As soon as we woke up our first day here, Tracy got up on the ladder to wash the solar panels with river water and the shower squeegee.

This way we can make the most of the maybe two hours of direct sunlight we’ll have between the mountain ranges.

I think these pictures show off well the camping spot in both directions. In other words, mountains!

Tracy picked this location to avoid the heat wave down in lower elevations, but we’re going to make the most of our stay. The nearby tourist town, Red Lodge, has a brewery, plus a laundromat and drug store (woohoo!). Then of course there’s hiking trails all around, and perhaps a day trip into Yellowstone. 

5 thoughts to “Montana at 7,500 Feet”

  1. I’m glad you’re in the West at last! North Dakota and Montana are such different kinds of gorgeous!

  2. Wowww pics are beautiful! The spot you found to park looks cool! Enjoy your time in Montana guys!!